Saturday, September 20, 2014

The pie illusion

I was paging through George Seddon and Jackie Burrow's The Natural Food Book (1977, though mine is from the second printing in 1980) and was suddenly mesmerized by a picture that alternatively filled me with longing and fear, like that optical illusion that could be a sweet young woman turning away or an old woman staring you down. (Don't look at me that way!) (Am I speaking to you, the reader who is slightly aghast at my comparison, or to the old woman in the illusion? There's the real question, although either answer would still suggest that I am a bit crazy.) Without looking to see what chapter I was in, I tried to take a guess as to what this might be:

Sometimes I see a lovely golden-brown crust, slices of some dark fruit (plums, perhaps?) in a creamy filling. Then I notice that the "fruit" looks oddly greasy and the creamy filling is warty. What alchemy leads to this illusion?

(Don't be put off by the fact that I had to finish typing this recipe. It was in the fold and I could not copy the end of the recipe without cutting the page out of the book.)

waxed paper weighted down with dried beans and bake it for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake the pastry for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until it is just beginning to brown.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C).

Reserving 3 slices for garnish, arrange 1/4 pound of thinly sliced salami on the bottom of the pastry shell.

In a mixing bowl lightly beat 2 eggs. Stir in 1/2 pound of cottage cheese, 1 grated small onion, 1/2 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon the mixture into the pastry shell. Bake the quiche for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Let the quiche cool slightly. Garnish it with the reserved salami and serve.

Ingredients to serve four to six:
1-1/2 cups (150 g) shortcrust pastry
1/4 lb (100 g) thinly sliced salami
2 eggs
1/2 lb (250 g) cottage cheese
1 small onion
dried mixed herbs

So my "Warty Plum and Cream Pie" is actually Cottage Cheese and Salami Quiche. Is that better or worse than my initial impression? Is it just a lateral move-- neither better nor worse, but simply a different horror? I'm not sure of the answer. I just know that I can't look away.


  1. AH! It always kills me when I see cottage cheese used in place of ricotta or cream cheese. Let cottage cheese be cottage cheese, it's not a substitute for anything. Blah!

    1. Cottage cheese was a super-popular substitute for everything dairy back then. I suspect Greek yogurt is our modern equivalent. Put it in everything and pretend it's really mayo, or sour cream, or whatever....

    2. Hee hee, whenever I see Greek yogurt in recipe I use sour cream. I'm a rebel ;-)

  2. There was no mistaking that for salami Poppy. Maybe I've seen that dish before. Oh yes, I would have remembered I'm sure:)

    As for the Cottage Cheese, my pet "peeve" is when it is used in lieu of ricotta in lasagna. Nearly everyone I know or have ever talked to in Idaho (with the exception of my daughter) and Utah, use it in Lasagna. (which of course no longer makes it lasagna:)

    Don't even get me started on "Greek" yogurt...

    1. Looks like this entry hit a real nerve!

    2. I guess you could say that Poppy:)